|Title of host publication||1914-1918-online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War|
|Editors||U. Daniel, P. Gatrell, O. Janz, H. Jones, J. Keene, A. Kramer & B. Nasson|
|Place of Publication||Germany|
|Publisher||Freie UniversitÃ¤t Berlin|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|
Conscription was the most divisive issue in Australian politics during the First World War. The expeditionary force which the Australian government offered to Britain in August 1914 was composed only of volunteers, since earlier legislation forbade the deployment of conscripts overseas. As the casualties on the Western Front mounted, voluntary enlistment proved unable to fully replace the losses in battle. In two referenda, in October 1916 and December 1917, the Australian electorate narrowly rejected the introduction of conscription, after bitter debates that split the governing Australian Labor Party and profoundly divided the population.